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19-time deported Mexican national accused of raping a 13-year-old girl onboard Greyhound bus

December 31, 2016  |  Posted by: Francesca Falzarano
19-time deported Mexican national accused of raping a 13-year-old girl onboard Greyhound bus

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A Mexican national, who is accused of raping a 13-year-old on a Greyhound bus that traveled through Kansas, had been deported ten times and removed from the United States another nine times since 2003.

Three U.S. Republican senators — which include Kansas’ Jerry Moran and Pat Roberts — ordered that the Department of Homeland Security hand over immigration records for 38-year-old Tomas Martinez-Maldonado, who has been charged with a felony in the September 27th sexual assault on a bus traveling through Geary County.

He is in custody in the Geary County jail in Junction City, approximately 120 miles west of Kansas City, The Associated Press reported.

U.S. Senator Charles Grassley of Iowa and the chairman of the judiciary committee co-signed a letter with Moran and Roberts to Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson, declaring it “an extremely disturbing case” and wondering how Martinez-Maldonado was able to come back in and remain in the U.S.

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement revealed that it had placed a detainer — a request to turn Martinez-Maldonado over to ICE custody before he is released.

Court records indicate that Martinez-Maldonado has two misdemeanors for entering without legal authorization in cases prosecuted in 2013 and 2015 in U.S. District Court of Arizona, where he was sentenced to serve 60 days and 165 days behind bars, respectively.

A status hearing for the rape case is scheduled for January 10th. Defense lawyer Lisa Hamer declined to comment on the case, but said, “criminal law and immigration intersect and nowadays it should be the responsibility of every criminal defense attorney to know the possible ramifications in the immigration courts.”

This undated photo provided by the Geary County Detention Center In Junction City, Kan., shows Tomas Martinez-Maldonado.

Across the country, 52% of all federal prosecutions in the fiscal year that ended September 30th were for entry or re-entry without legal permission and similar immigration violations, Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse at Syracuse University reported.

It’s not surprising to see immigrants with multiple entries without permission, said David Trevino, a Topeka immigration lawyer who is also representing Martinez-Maldonado. Most of Martinez-Maldonado’s relatives reside in Mexico, but he also has family in the U.S., and the family is “devastated,” Trevino added.

“[President-elect Trump] can build a wall 100 feet high and 50 feet deep, but it is not going to keep family members separated. So if someone is deported and they have family members here… they will find a way back — whether it is through the air, a wall, through the coast of the United States,” Trevino continued.

Documents obtained by Associated Press indicate that Martinez-Maldonado had eight voluntary removals before he was first deported in 2010, which was succeeded by another voluntary removal that same year. He was deported five additional times between 2011 – 2013.

In 2013, the Mexican national was charged with entering without legal permission, a misdemeanor, and was deported in early 2014 after he finished his sentence. He was expelled again a few months later, and then twice more in 2015. The last deportation was in October 2015 after he had served his second jail term.

In an emailed statement, the ICE said that when it encounters an individual who has been deported multiple times or has a notable criminal history and was removed, it routinely presents those cases to the U.S. attorney’s office for criminal charges.

Arizona is the third in the nation — behind the Southern District and Western District of Texas — for the number of immigration prosecutions among the U.S.’s 94 federal judicial districts for the fiscal year that ended September 30th.

Moran told the Associated Press that the immigration system is “broken.”

“There must be serious legislative efforts to address immigration policy, and we must have the ability to identify, prosecute,e and deport illegal aliens who display violent tendencies before they have an opportunity to perpetrate these crimes in the United States,” he stated.

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